It was already a game for the ages, with the New York Yankees battling the Boston Red Sox in Game 7 of the ALCS on October 16, 2003. The biggest rivalry in sports in a showdown that would take one to fight for a chance to be World Champions.
Let’s just say, the stakes were unlike any other. The winner goes on, loser goes home.
RELATED: Baby Bombers Lighting Up The AFL
The game had already topped expectations as the Yankees and Red Sox headed into extra innings. Roger Clemens took the mound for New York and struggled early against a high-octane Red Sox offense, giving up five runs in three innings.
With the classic mantra of “five outs to go,” Red Sox fans were expecting an easy victory and a chance to forever end the curse of the Bambino. That is until the three-run eighth inning off of Pedro Martinez resulted in a tie game.
Knotted up at five, the Yankees and Red Sox traded scoreless innings until Willie Randolph‘s “sleeper pick” Aaron Boone stepped up to bat in the bottom of the 11th inning against the wicked knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield.
And the rest, as they say, was history.
In one of the most prominent moments in Yankees postseason history, Boone took the first pitch from Wakefield deep down the left field line to secure a World Series berth for the Yankees.
As the stadium erupted in pure excitement, Boone cruised around the bases and was hounded by teammates at home plate, while winning pitcher Mariano Rivera collapsed on the mound with tears of joy.
Boone, who was only 1-for-10 against Wakefield in his career, took the Yankees to the World Series and helped the Yankees complete the most improbable comeback in their playoff history.
“When I made contact I knew almost instantly that it was gonna be a home run. I knew I got a really good piece of it,” Boone said in an interview with ESPN in 2010. “Just wanted to make sure initially that it was gonna be fair and once I knew it was gonna be fair… stuck my arms out, and really just tried to embrace as much as I could.”
All in all, just another astounding chapter in the most historic rivalry in baseball. Also, the moment that Yankee fans will never forget, even 13 years later.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) October 16, 2016